Review – PaperMate Flair Colors – Orange, Lime, Magenta, Marigold, and Pink

Now it’s time for part two of my look at the 20 colors of the Papermate Flair. This section of five is the “Warm” colors section. Mostly some normal colors here, but a few out-liars. Nothing too crazy.

Papermate flair colors part 2

This scan didn’t work the best


Orange – The orange is a deep, red-ish orange that is surprisingly natural looking. It’s very subdued, but noticeable, good for organization, but not for documents. It’s dark enough that it can be read at a glance. It fades significantly, but doesn’t really smear when wet.

Lime – The lime likely has the most variance in color, when written with fast it is a surprisingly standard bright lime color, but when taken slowly it is rather dark and subdued. It wouldn’t make a great office color but it is less harsh than a normal lime green, and the variances in tone make it good for art. Another plus is water hardly affects it.

Magenta – I find magenta colors had to classify, this one is pretty, nice to look at, and readable. It wouldn’t suit the office well but it does look like I could see it out my window. Heavy bleeding and smearing when wet with this one.

Marigold – At first glance this pen looks like another yellow, which it is, but much less harsh and more readable. It has a tinge of orange that is very pleasant and flower-like. There’s a lot of smearing, but almost no fading when exposed to water. Perhaps it could be used as an alternative to red to use when marking something important. Just as noticeable, but less aggressive.

Pink – I don’t like this color, it’s a hot-ish pink, not blinding, but not pleasant. It’s standard all things considered, it barely moves when wet and is inappropriate for anything but personal organizing. I’m not judging you if you like it, but I won’t be using if for anything.

And that’s part two. I like the warm colors, but I struggle to find uses for them. Next time I’ll take a look at five more, but this time “Cool” colors.


Review – Pilot Precise Colors, Green and Purple

I’ve taken a look at the Pilot Precise V5 pens before, and they’re pretty good pens in the standard compliment of black, red, and blue colors. But they also have a few other colors available, and in this little review I’ll take a look at the purple and green offerings.

Pilot precise green and purple

First the purple, which is much darker and a much truer purple than most, which are more a fuchsia. The color is deep, but not deep enough to be washed out. It could still conceivably be used in an office setting, but might be pushing it. And while there are rarely truer purples, it doesn’t have a very natural look to it. Perhaps it exists in some deeps shades of flowers, but otherwise it is far too dark. Startup with this color is easy, and while it does fade with water, it is still readable.

And second, the green, which again is much darker and much truer than other greens. It is unmistakably green, but darker than what one would usually think of green as being. It doesn’t get close to a forest or hunter, but certainly is far from a light or lime. I couldn’t think of any office uses, unless you’re a teacher who doesn’t want to use red. It is just light enough to stand out and not look professional. In art, though, it is a wonderfully natural color, and it shades a little bit for interesting effects. It has a bit of a startup problem (or a drying out problem) and is the less water-resistant of the two, but it is still adequate.

Is it worth moving over to Pilot Precise pens just to get these colors? Unlikely, but they are great colors that add to an already nice lineup. I enjoy them, and very similar colors are hard to find in disposable rollerballs or gel pens. They might be worth a look.

Review – Uni-Ball Vision Elite Bold Black, Blue, and Red

When looking at the Pilot Precise two weeks ago, it occurred to me that there might be people who don’t have Pilot pens available, or don’t like them, so I looked into a different set of pens that have similar features. And I found the Uni-Ball Vision Elite Bold, in Black, Red, and Blue.


The body and cap are simple and smooth, with a nice white-to-grey fade, a conical top, and a rounded bottom. The clip is metal with a few divots and is very tight. The top of the cap has the color of the ink and there are a few windows below to allow you to see the feed. On the barrel, the brand is stated twice and the model once, but there is no size information. Removing the cap exposes a transparent yet grip-covered feed, and the conical tip to a standard metal roller-ball point.


The three inks aren’t too special in properties. The black is a thick, nice color. It is a warm black, fairly formal, etc. The bold line on all of these pens is enough to bleed through on cheaper copier paper, but the ink dries surprisingly fast. The blue is a dark blue, again fairly formal. It’s almost a navy or a blue-black color and it works well in most situations. I’d say it’d even work well for some artistic endeavors. The red is fairly bright and red, but it isn’t eye-hurting. It is a very deep, nice color, but it could still be considered aggressive. It is also good enough to have some artistic potential.


The point is nice, and it writes smoothly, especially in the bold I have here. There is a lot of line variation, though, meaning drawing is a bit harder (or easier, depending on how you look at it). Like I said, there is some bleed-through, but not much. The writing is dry almost instantly from when I pick up the pen, which is amazing and leads to a much smoother writing experience.

Overall, the Uni-Ball Vision Elite is a great little roller-ball with quite a few office applications. The colors are nice without being overbearing, and the writing experience is fast and clean. Artistically they are limited, having little line consistency, but on the color side they have potential. They’re a nice set of pens.


Review – Pilot Precise v5 Black, Blue, and Red

Times are tough if one wants to write smoothly and precisely on a budget. Technical pens wear out fast, and fountain pens cost money and time to maintain. I use both, but sometimes I just want to write easily and precisely without all of the maintenance and hassle. This is where the Pilot Precise series of pens come in. Today I’ll be looking at the v5 set in black, red, and blue.


The cap and barrel are simple and straight. The cap has nothing on it but a simple metal clip that does its job well but can bend easily. The barrel has the necessary info about the product and an ink window so that if ink starts to run low you can get a general idea. Removing the cap shows a transparent section and feed system, which is more for being cool looking than any sort of functionality regarding ink level. At the end of the section is a series of plastic step downs that lead to a metal rolling ball tip. At the bottom of the section is a small clear plastic window that allows one to easily see if there is little or no ink left in the pen. The transparent section and barrel are both a slick plastic, but provide enough surface area that slipping off or letting go of the pen is not an issue.


The tips of the pens write fairly smoothly. Older ones get a bit stiffer, but even on the extra-fine v5 they are never scratchy. The rolling ball delivers a nice “precise” line to the paper. Although it does have more variation than a technical pen in width, it has less than a standard ballpoint does, and it doesn’t blob. Like I said, writing is smooth: almost as smooth as a fountain pen, but not quite there. I’d say they are wonderful for writing (especially if ballpoints cramp one’s hands) but are not as good for drawing. Still better than a ballpoint, though.


The three colors I have are Black, Blue, and Red: fairly standard colors with a fairly standard execution. The black is a warm black (this is an older pen, and Pilot may have changed formulas. The other two are brand new.) and noticeably less saturated than the thicker v7. The blue is quite dark, darker than most other Pilot inks, and quite work-appropriate. It’s almost a deep water blue, but not quite as dark as, say, Bic blue. The red is bright, bright to the point of being aggressive. Don’t grade papers with it unless you really want to say they’re wrong. It shows up almost from across the room and is quite a contrast to the deep red body of the pen. I’d say it has the fewest practical applications of the bunch. All of these inks are liquid-based and soak into the paper, meaning that they take a bit of moisture to run, but when they do they never stop. The red is the worst in this case.

In the end I’d say simply that these pens are great for writing, and all right for drawing. They aren’t the best but are great and ubiquitous for what they are.





Review – Papermate Inkjoy Black, Red, Blue, and Purple

In my tradition (now) of taking a look at the uses of standard office supplies in art, I’ll be looking at the Papermate Inkjoy pens and their different colors. Today will be the standard colors of black, red, blue, and purple.

inkjoy inks 2

Not Entirely Representative

Papermate tends to make standard colors, and their black is no exception. One of the deeper Papermate blacks, the Inkjoy black is nice and constant, though is a bit blue-greyish. Not quite black, but very good for a ballpoint pen.

The red is also fairly standard. It’s light, but not light enough to say it’s pinkish. It is very subdued and pleasant, not as aggressive as most reds, making it a bit more natural.

The blue is very deep, but not very saturated. In low light it still looks blue, but one wouldn’t mistake it for a sky blue. Again, like the red, the low saturation makes it look less aggressive than some other hues. It’s got a very nice, watery feel to it.

And finally the purple, which again is deep but not saturated. It is unmistakably purple but not very aggressive. Unlike the others, though, this leads to a less natural look as most natural purples are deep and aggressive or light and flowery. This one is in between, which means it would be at home on your papers but not in artwork.

Overall, Papermate did a good job with these colors for the workplace. They definitely weren’t designed for art, though they could be worked in. Not superb but good enough. We’ll see what the next four have in store.

Review – Sharpie Pen Colors

I have reviewed the Sharpie pen before. And the ink in that pen was a bit of a muted black. Now it’s time to look at some more of the Sharpie pen color palette: the blue, red, green, purple, and orange pens.

pen comparison sharpie 2

Colors not exact representations.

Starting off with the blue, which is a typical blue, if a bit washed-out looking. It is a subdued blue that would be appropriate in most work environments. They say that all of the colors are water-proof and smear resistant. I will say that is mostly true unless under extreme circumstances, but don’t expect them to be as all-around useful as their marker cousins. They also dry fairly fast and are supposed to be non-toxic, but I’m not checking that.

Now to the red, which is the most disappointing of the bunch. It is faded and looks almost pinkish. It’s hard to tell it’s really a red and it certainly lacks the intensity most look for in a red ink. That being said, it is subdued and will work better in a work or school environment where one would want a less aggressive color.

The green is, say it with me, subdued. It is undeniably green, and being as laid back as it is almost intensifies it. It’s the hardest to read out of the bunch and is almost eye hurting after a while. Strangely it is almost identical to Micron green.

The purple is flat, but deep. It is easily the darkest and most readable of the bunch. It is also fairly close to a Micron purple and provides a nice, neutral color, that is still quite different.

Now finally the orange. The orange is the only intense color out of the bunch, and even then for orange it is fairly flat. It does jump off the page and provide the kick one would expect from a nice orange. I’d say it’s probably the best color of the bunch.

So there are a few colors. Aside from looking almost identical to Micron colors I’d say they’re good. I haven’t the foggiest as to why that is but it is a bonus in my book. Anyway, if you like Sharpie pens, and want some nice, pleasant colors for work or some such, I’d take a closer look at these. And due to their subtlety they also look much more natural in drawings than standard, intense colors.

Review – Micron Orange, Yellow, and Fresh Green Colors

It’s that time again, the time I review Micron colors. The three I have this time are the bright colors: orange, yellow, and fresh green.

Starting with the orange: It’s a very bright color, brighter than the fruit of the same name. It’s also a little bit on the light side, looking a bit washed out on the paper. It’s less pleasant than most of the other Micron colors. The pigment does apply evenly and there is no doubt it is orange, though.

On to the yellow, which is super saturated. It’s almost illegible on white paper, on off-white it’s not much better, even though it is still rather subdued and looks quite like the yellows presented in nature. In large patches it loses its illegibility and actually looks quite pleasant. It’s probably the closest to a natural yellow you’ll find in a pen.

Now the fresh green. This one looks like lime green. It is also super bright, and comes the closest to hurting my eyes of the bunch. The pigment tends to pool, creating some shading when drawing. This can be both advantageous and disadvantageous depending on the effect you’re going for. It is the most likely to bleed of any of the colors, but with this selection that isn’t too bad. I would also say this is the least realistic and useful of the bunch.

micron colors 3

Overall, these three bright colors have some issues, but are fairly good. They write well and are entirely servicable, but finding jobs for them seems difficult to me. I’m not sure if they are the must-haves of the other Microns, but they are quite good.